Sophomore Cameron Forte scored a career-high 14 points to go along with a career-high eight rebounds, but the Georgia Bulldogs ultimately fell 73-55 to George Washington on Friday evening at the Charles E. Smith Center. The Bulldogs dropped their second straight road game to fall to 6-6 on the year, while George Washington improves to 12-2 overall.
Once again, the telling factors were turnovers and free throws. The Bulldogs committed 20 turnovers to the Colonials 10, and the Colonials visited the free throw stripe 28 times and to score 20 while the Bulldogs could only get to the foul line 15 times and score 6. While George Washington only out rebounded Georgia 36 – 30, Georgia has not won this year when out rebounded.
“Our defense really failed us in the second half tonight,” said Georgia Head Coach Mark Fox. “In the first half we defended well. We didn’t quite rebound like we’d like to, but in the second half we did not defend without fouling. Instead of getting a stop and a rebound, we sent them to the free throw line. That’s really concerning. We’ve got to improve defensively.”
A bright spot for the losing Bulldogs, Forte turned in a perfect shooting performance from the field, knocking down all seven of his field goals in just 13 minutes of play. Charles Mann scored 11 points and claimed three steals for the Bulldogs, while Marcus Thornton and Kenny Gaines chipped in with eight points apiece.
The two teams traded baskets back and forth early until the Colonials reeled off six unanswered points to take an 18-10 lead. Georgia closed to within three midway through the opening period, but George Washington entered the half leading 28-23.
Mann scored eight points in the first half to lead the Bulldogs. Both teams shot 36 percent from the floor, while the rebounds were nearly even as George Washington owned a slim 20-19 advantage on the boards. However, the Colonials opened a 12-point lead just five minutes into the second half, eventually leading by as many as 21.
Georgia shot 46 percent from the floor during the game (59 percent during the second half), but the Bulldogs could not overcome the 20 turnovers that led to 16 points for the Colonials and the free throw difference. The Bulldogs tied a season-high mark with seven blocks on the night.
Kethan Savage led George Washington with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field.
It appears Coach Fox has settled on his core players –once again Mann, Thornton, Gaines, Donte Williams, Brandon Morris, Juwan Parker, and Nemi Djurisic took the preponderance of playing time. Tim Dixon appears to be the fourth big man off the bench.
The Bulldogs will return to action on Wednesday when they open SEC play in Columbia, Mo., against the Missouri Tigers. The game will tip of at 8 p.m. and be televised on SEC TV.